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Tuesday, May 2, 2017
How to Get Your Application Off the Waitlist
As with anything related to college admissions, there is no sure answer for how to get in—whether you're on the waitlist or not. All colleges evaluate candidates using a variety of different factors. Admissions criteria are often cloaked in secrecy. Above all, there are simply so many applicants these days that there simply is not room for everyone. Still, the waitlist is a particularly precarious stopover, and there are some affirmative actions that waitlisted students can and should take.
1) Figure out the university's policy regarding communications from waitlisted students. Some colleges don't want to hear from waitlisted students at all. Others will invite short, online communications. Others may accept supplemental materials like updated grades and new letters of recommendation. If they do not invite such information, don't send it.
2) Express continuing interest in attending. It sounds almost too obvious. However, universities understand that many waitlisted students won't want to take any chances by waiting around, and will necessarily accept offers at other schools. Let them know you are still interested.
3) Keep them apprised of new information. If you've retaken the SAT or TOEFL and earned a higher score, let them know. Be frugal with your updated statistics. They don't need to know about your last month as a volunteer in the animal shelter. But dramatic improvements in scores or accomplishments can and should be brought to their attention.
4) Put a deposit down elsewhere. There are zero guarantees of admission for waitlisted students. Most students are drawn randomly from the waitlist, only after accepted students have declined offers of entry. Do not put all your eggs in one basket by waiting for the waitlist results, even if it is your top choice. Many waitlisted students won't receive notification until late summer.
5) Get an interview. Very few universities offer interviews for waitlisted students, but if they do, get yourself in there. It's impossible to beat the persuasive effect of a face-to-face interaction.
Above all, try to let go. After you've completed the steps above, it is out of your hands. Consider yourself honored to have been considered, and treat this as a learning experience. It is but a single chapter in a much longer story.
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